Detox: Is it for you?

If you scan the magazine racks next to the checkout in the grocery store, you're likely to see at least a couple issues offering you the latest detox diet.  Detox diets have become popular for all sorts of people, from celebrities to your friends and neighbors.  it seems like for every affliction, from obesity to cancer, there's a specialty detox diet that claims to help.  most of these detox diets involve very low-calorie offerings with just minimal fruits and vegetables, water, and maybe some additional supplements.  The idea behind these diets is that they quickly rid your body of all toxins, so your metabolism gets the boost it needs to fight off disease or help you lose those extra pounds.   The truth is ...

 Detoxification is something that your body does naturally and continuously during your normal metabolic processes. many of these detox diets are short on nutrition and long on promises.  Some supplements used along with detox diets may cause your body to detox too quickly, potentially harming your body.  There isn't much scientific research done on detox diets, and no credible claims that they are healthy for you.  Most detox diets use testimonials to sell the idea to others.  It's not difficult to understand why people would have good things to say about these diets.  If you're eating a poor diet of processed foods and refined sugar and then switch to a near-starvation diet, initially you might feel better and have more energy.  But a sudden move like this might be too extreme for your body's well-being.

If you fast long-term, you'll be short on protein and energy.  Sure, you will lose weight, but that weight loss will be due to your body breaking down muscle protein along with stored fat to get the energy that it needs.  Even though the number on the scale might be lower, you'll be left with a deficiency of protein and nutrients, which will lead to a negative disruption in the metabolic process, harming your body's cycle of calorie burning, healing, and repair.

No matter what your diet consists of now, your body is already constantly detoxing itself through the everyday metabolic tasks of the liver, kidneys, colon, skin, blood, and lymphatic system.  these organs help remove harmful chemicals from the body, flushing them out in waste material like urine or feces,  But if a poor diet leads to deficiencies in certain minerals such as magnesium or calcium, the body will begin to hold on to toxic metals in their place.

  • Calcium is replaced by lead, which primarily ends up in bone, disrupting the formation of red blood cells.  too much lead can contribute to anemia, and lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis.
  • Zinc is replaced by cadmium, which usually settles in the kidneys.  Too much cadmium has been linked to peripheral neuropathy.
  • Manganese is replaced by nickel, a carcinogen.
  • magnesium will be replaced by aluminum, a metal that can cause neurochemical changes and can contribute to the development of Alzheimer's.

Where do our bodies find these toxic replacement heavy metals?  Lead, arsenic, and mercury can be found in pollution and other industrial byproducts.  Pesticides are another source of toxins.  according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, "Pesticide exposure can cause a variety of adverse health effects.  These effects can range from simple irritation of the skin and eyes to more severe effects such as affecting the nervous system, mimicking hormones causing reproductive problems, and also causing cancer."   These results are alarming, considering that application of these chemicals is anything but precise.  A full 98% of pesticides and 95% of herbicides end up somewhere other than their intended destination.  Of the 12 most dangerous persistent organic chemicals known, nine of them are pesticides.  Many of these pesticides break down into byproducts that are more dangerous than the original, and there may be other harmful compounds in pesticides that we aren't even aware of.  Pesticide labeling laws allow manufactures to omit their inert ingredients. Further, "trade secrets' allow [manufacturers] to avoid disclosure to customers, so you cannot tell by reading a product label whether a pesticide contains an endocrine-disrupting ingredient."5

These chemicals follow you inside your house too.  Pesticides that readily break down a few days when exposed to the outdoor elements such as sunlight and bacteria can linger for years in your home's carpets.  These chemicals ending up in your home is worrisome considering that the most common pesticides are used not just on farms but on lawns and have been known to accelerate immune and nervous system damage, which can lead to health problems years after initial exposure.   Which leads us back to the question:

How Can You Tell If You Need To Detox?

With all the above information about your potential exposure to toxins, you might be thinking that a detoxification plan is absolutely necessary.  Before jumping to that conclusion, take a look at how your body's excretory system is dealing with toxins.

First, check your urination.  Your urine should be a pale yellow, and you should be urinating about every two hours.  If you aren't going that often, drink more water.  We recommend about one quart of clean water per fifty pounds of body weight per day (not exceeding three quarts).

The next thing to consider is your bowel movements.  You should have at least one solid bowel movement per day.  Natural fiber found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains can help bulk your stool.  If you are eating too much meat and/or "white food" your digestion might be slowed down too much.  Not only can this be uncomfortable, but it also inhibits the efficient excretion of toxins.

Signs and Symptoms of Toxic Overload

These symptoms will vary from one person to the next, and having some of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that you are overloaded with toxins - there could be other underlying problems.  that being said, here are some common signs your body is trying to warn you about it's toxin levels:

  • feeling tired, sluggish, lethargic
  • trouble with memory, concentrating and staying focused
  • trouble sleeping
  • allergies
  • depression
  • irritability
  • frequent colds, flu, infections
  • anemia
  • thyroid disorders
  • hypertension
  • neurological disorders
  • developmental disorders

If you are thinking about detoxing, don't take the decision lightly and don't simply follow a fad diet that could end up doing more harm than good.  Detoxing can be dangerous for certain people.  For instance, pregnant and nursing mothers should never detox.  People with diabetes, anemia, or diseases of the liver, kidneys, or thyroid should always consult an expert healthcare provider before considering a detox program.  Even if you don't know of any kidney or liver problems, it's better to be safe and check with a doctor first.  Your kidneys and liver may only be functioning at 20% without showing any outside symptoms.

Proper testing is needed first to determine your body's toxic burden and then discover how well your body is excreting those toxins.  No one test can tell you anything definitively.    Call us today at 773.878.7330 to schedule an appointment to determine if detoxification is right for you. 



1. Miller GT (2004), Sustaining the Earth, 6th edition. Thompson Learning, Inc. Pacific Grove, California. Chapter 9, Pages 211-216.via Wikipedia.
2. United States Environmental Protection Service
3. Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention Ridding The World of Persistent Organic Pollutants. United Nations Environment Programme. April 2005
4. West Kootenay Airshed Protection. Cosmetic Use of Pesticides. Accessed on April 24, 2012
5. June Russell's Health Facts: Pesticides Facts, (accessed April 09, 2016).

Federal Law requires that we warn you of the following: 
1. Your individual health status and any required health care treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice.

2. The information provided in this newsletter has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Read 3268 times Last modified on Monday, 23 May 2016 16:02